Is cannabis illegal in UK and where is weed legal to smoke and buy?

CANNABIS is one of the most common drugs in the UK.

But were you aware that possession of it can lead to a jail term? Here’s all you need to know.

The Class B drug carries a prison sentence and fine as a maximum punishment for possessionAP:Associated Press

Is marijuana illegal in the UK?

It’s a crime in the UK to possess, grow, distribute, sell, or grow cannabis.

Being caught with cannabis comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

While being convicted of producing and supplying the Class B drug carries up to 14 years behind bars, an unlimited fine, or both.

Police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if you’re caught with a small amount – generally less than one ounce – if it is deemed for personal use.

Is it illegal to smoke cannabis in your own home?

Cannabis has been illegal in the UK since 1928 and is regulated stringently by the Government.

As the punishments suggest, it’s completely illegal to smoke weed anywhere in Britain – including on your own property.

However, some police forces have taken a more laid-back attitude to the recreational drug, which is believed to be the most popular in the UK.

Prosecution rates for cannabis possession are as low as 15 percent in Cornwall and Devon, while Durham Police have said they will no longer target recreational users at all.

Is medical marijuana legal in the UK?

Medical forms of marijuana are available over the counter or by prescription in the UK – but it is heavily monitored and regulated.

Doctors were given the go-ahead to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1, 2018.

The rules apply to England, Wales, and Scotland, the former Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in a written statement.

It follows several high-profile cases, including young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.

In order for a cannabis product to be considered medicinal it must meet three requirements: it “needs to be a preparation or product which contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative; it is produced for medicinal use in humans and; is a medicinal product, or a substance or preparation for use as an ingredient of, or in the production of an ingredient of, a medicinal product”, according to Mr Javid’s statement.

In July 2019, it was ruled that the NHS could prescribe cannabis-based medicine to treat Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Trials of the drug were carried out at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital on children who were having multiple seizures a day.

Results showed the drug stopped seizures in many cases and significantly reduced them in others.

The decision by the European Medicines Agency has to be confirmed in two months, but that is expected to be a formality paving the way for the liquid medicine to be available on the NHS later this year for dozens of children affected by the two conditions.

Where is weed legal?

Malta became the first European country to legalise marijuana for recreational use in 2021, after decriminalising it in 2018.

Weed has been decriminalised for personal use in a number of countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal, which decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001.

Canada legalised cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2001.

But in October 2018 they became the first G7 nation to legalise recreational use of the drug.

Other countries that have legalised recreational use include Georgia, Malta, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and Uruguay.

There are 47 countries worldwide that allow the medical use of marijuana such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland,  Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, and New Zealand.

Some US states have legalised recreational marijuana while many allow it for medicinal use only.

Missouri was the latest to decriminalise cannabis use in February 2023.

How many people in the UK smoke weed?

The use of most drugs has declined in the UK since records began in 1996, according to a 2016 Home Office survey.

It found that cannabis was by some distance the most commonly used drug, with 6.5 per cent of adults aged between 16 and 59 smoking in the previous year.

Weed was also the most popular among those aged between 16 and 24, with 15.8 per cent using it in that same time.

The next popular drug was powdered cocaine.

When did cannabis become illegal in the UK?

Cannabis was banned in 1928.

Its medical use was outlawed in 1971 and growing plants was made illegal in 1964.

In March 2016, the Liberal Democrats became the first major British political party to support the legalisation of cannabis.

What can you do if your neighbours are smoking cannabis?

If you suspect your neighbours are smoking weed in their house you have the right to contact the police.

Your anonymous tip-off will probably ensure that your neighbour gets a knock on their door.

This will result in a search of their property if the officers share your suspicions.

They could be charged if they are found to be in possession of cannabis, although this is all dependent on their previous convictions.